By Blake Haas and Katherine Murphy
NORMAL – After making headlines last week for a statement made to student-athletes at Illinois State University – the school’s athletic director has more to say.
During the annual meeting with students, Larry Lyons brought up the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement and said, “All Redbird Lives Matter.”
While he has since apologized, student-athletes are calling for his resignation.
“I have no plans to step down,” Lyons told WJBC’s, Scott Miller. “I mean there’s a process if they’re unhappy with my job performance, there are avenues for them to express that to my direct supervisor and they’re welcome to do that. My commitment is to making improvements so that we make their lives better and make their experiences at Illinois State in the athletic department and on-campus better.”
Some student-athletes put together a list of demands that included required seminars for athletic administration, staff, coaches, and athletes, along with an athletic department plan to support the Black Lives Matter movement, among other things.
“We were in the process the most of the summer to essentially begin working on those issues. We’re committed to Black Lives Matter. We begin some programming along that line. We’re committed to providing services to our student-athletes to improve their opportunities to grow in this athletic department, and it’s not just athletic training; it’s all of our support services. We need more diversity.”
— ISU Redbirds (@ISURedbirds) August 31, 2020
Lyons says his commitment is to the student-athletes at Illinois State, and he would not have spent as much time with the University if it wasn’t where his heart is.
Blake Haas can be reached at Blake.Haas@Cumulus.com
Katherine Murphy can be reached at Katherine.Murphy@Cumulus.com.